Latest purchase, an ungrade of William II, (Rufus) Penny

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by johnmilton, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    William II, who is also known as Rufus, the younger son of William the Conqueror. When William the Conqueror died he gave England to Rufus and Normandy to his older son, Robert.

    William I improved the quality of the English coinage while he was king, but when William II took over, it went downhill. It would continue that way until Henry II became king in 1154, Henry’s first coins were not good, but his later ones were a distinct improvement.

    Most Rufus coins were really ugly. This one does not look like much, but it’s actually better than average. The wording is quite clear although the portrait is mostly missing, and the planchet is partially split.

    William II d O.jpg William II d R.jpg

    And here is my new one. This is an S-1260, which is the most common variety with stars on either side of the portrait but all I can say about this piece is "WOW!" I have net seen anything close to it.

    William II 1260  O.jpg William II 1260 R.jpg

    Here are the contents of my "bullet book" which I have compiled to help me learn the history of each British king.

    · William the Conqueror gave his eldest son, Robert, the duchy of Normandy, and selected William II to succeed him as king of England. William the Conqueror belittled Robert because of his short stature. He referred to him as Robert Courtheuse which, in Norman French, translated to “short stockings.”

    · William was a very competent military man which probably accounted for his selection as the king. He put down two attempts to replace him as king.

    · William had a red face which was enhanced by his drinking and further inflamed when he became angry. Hence he had the nickname, “Rufus,” the red. There are other accounts that attribute his nickname to his red hair.

    · Rufus blasphemed the church and often used foul language. He rejected the church and misappropriated its funds. When an abbot or bishop died, Rufus did not appoint a replacement. Instead he took charge of the church property and took the income from it for himself. It is therefore no surprise that the monks characterized Rufus as an evil person who had the characteristics of a witch.

    · His debaucheries were described as “hateful to God and man.” It was said that young men minced their gait with lose gestures and walked around half naked in William’s court. These stories may have been enhanced by the churchman given William’s continuing feuds with the clergy.

    · William was a flashy dresser. He wore expensive clothes and shoes.

    · Like almost all Normans, William loved to hunt. The Normans set aside over 70 hunting preserves around England that were designated for the use of Norman royalty only. Anyone who was caught hunting in those areas was punished by blinding and other mutilations. Those who lived near the preserves could not have dogs unless the animals had one of the toes on their front paws removed to prevent the dog from hunting and chasing game.

    · William was killed in a “hunting accident” when a Norman nobleman, Walter Tyrel, missed a deer and hit the king instead. William’s brother, Henry, who was also in the hunting party immediately rushed to Westminster where he laid claim to the royal treasury and the crown.

    · Tyrel returned to Normandy immediately. Henry awarded Tyrel’s brothers in law, Gilbert and Robert of Clare, special favors.

    · William II was the only British king who never married. Some historians concluded that William II was gay.

    · Starting with the coins of William II, the quality of the British coinage suffered. The coins would not improve until the reign of King Henry II (1154 to 1189).

    · The second Rufus coin, shown on the previous page, was stuck with a broken die on a split planchet. The piece has a poor portrait, but the lettering is sharp. I have seen other pieces with a good portrait, but the lettering was missing in part or in its entirety. The piece at the top is of exceptional quality.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    A big improvement, congrats.

    Are you keeping the old one?
  4. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Probably not.
  5. Suarez

    Suarez Well-Known Member

    I take a deep, deeep bow. Not an easy one to score and even less so in such a fine grade. Wow!

    Do you collect by monarch? I'd love to see other collectors' sets. Here are my piddlies. Note the missing Willy 2 hole.

    Puckles likes this.
  6. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I now have at least one coin for each British king or queen except for those who did not issue any coins or those who are too rare to obtain such as Lady Jane Grey and Edward VIII.
  7. TheRed

    TheRed Supporter! Supporter

    Congrats on the great Willian II penny @johnmilton it is a wonderful coin for the type. Your write-up is also an enjoyable read. For any one interested in William II Rufus I would recommend the biography by Frank Barlow. It gives a really interesting portrait of a king much maligned by the eclesiastical sources.
    Orfew likes this.
  8. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Yes, getting "the skinny" on historical figures, especially on people who lived 900+ years ago, is aways a challenge.

    Sometimes you need to draw your own conclusions. Some still try to claim that Rufus died in a hunting accident and was not murdered. His brother Henry was hightailing it to London to grab the money and the crown before his body was cold. Henry let the guy who shot the arrow leave the country and he richly paid his brothers who stayed in England. I have drawn my conclusion from that .
  9. Mike Thorne

    Mike Thorne Well-Known Member

    I think you meant "upgrade," not ungrade in your title. I find this whole discussion impressive, as someone who has bought some coins of British monarchs as presents for my wife. I printed out Suarez's coin grid. I've also printed out the "bullet book," as I think she'll find it fascinating.
  10. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page